One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

Letting someone else pick your tattoo for you seems like a wild idea reserved for TV or that Emma Roberts movie “Nerve” that I don’t think did too well. And yet there I was, surrounded by three of my coworkers at Earth Altar Studio in Eagle Rock, getting ready to do just that. For my first tattoo.

Now you probably think I’m crazy. Which may be true. But I felt great. And I wasn’t there on a dare. Nor was I drunk. I was there for the sacred intuitive tattooing by owner Justine Serebrin. It works like this: I choose a crystal. Justine sage cleanses it. I set my intentions. We meditate. Justine does a tarot reading. After that, we discuss, and from that Justine is inspired to discover not only the design of the tattoo, but also where it should go on my body.

Yeah, you probably still think I’m crazy. And that’s okay. I’ve been getting more into spirituality lately — I actually met Justine at a crystal jewelry-making workshop ahead of the solar eclipse. I know, so LA, right?

One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY

Anyway, I had my own idea for a tattoo, and originally I just meant to talk to Justine about executing that. But once she told me about the intuitive process, I just knew that had to be my first tattoo. It’s like how they say when you’ve found “the one” you just know. Well, I’m single AF, so I can’t speak to that. But I can say that when I walked into Earth Altar Studio, it just felt right.

After filling out the paperwork — and enjoying some “moon ease” tea —Justine began to walk me through the process. I used my intuition to choose a crystal. Then we went back to a private room to cleanse it with sage. The room was decorated with large, geometric paintings in brilliant shades of blue and teal. That, combined with calming music, burning sage and Justine’s reassuring smile worked to lull me into a (false?) sense of security.

Next I put down my crystal and shuffled Justine’s mesmerizing, homemade deck of tarot cards, which she said took three years for her to paint. She went into a meditative state then, and I focused on my crystal and my intention— and tried not to think about the fact that I was being photographed.

One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY

When Justine came to, my photographer and friend left the room so we could discuss my reading in private. Now, I’ve always been afraid of psychic and tarot readings. My anxiety has me convinced I’d get some horrible reading, like Trelawney seeing the Grim in Harry’s tea leaves in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Hard pass. But honestly, I highly recommend it. If you can put your skepticism aside, it’s a really cool experience to see things be so resonant for seemingly no explicable reason. That feeling of there being a mysterious force out there in motion that is bigger than you is oddly comforting.

For me, Justine saw a lot of royal imagery — queens, goddesses, luxurious draping. These were images that she said had never come through before. It was very empowering and exciting. The cards took me through my past, present and future, with the overall theme of “fall,” which we took to mean a time of change, letting go and planning for a new beginning. They also showed the actions I needed to take in order to achieve my predicted future, things such as creating a self-care ritual for myself and working with crystals more regularly for grounding and healing.

I don’t want to talk too much about the reading, because it was personal. But it did reveal where my tattoo would go. We both saw visions of my back left shoulder. Intuition works, y’all.

One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY

Okay. Heavy stuff aside, it was time to get real. We invited my friends back into the room and Justine got to drawing. My friends took over my Instagram story to document, while I stood there smiling like a dope, clueless, because I couldn’t see what was happening. This is where it could all go crashing and burning, like when you let a friend do your makeup and she makes you look like Pennywise’s sister.

I was nervous for this, because I’m not good at confrontation. I can’t tell you how many shitty haircuts I’ve gotten because I was too afraid to voice my opinion. Hell, once I even accepted a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t want because the dermatologist receptionist who gave it to me was so excited when she offered it, that I didn’t want to be rude. I’m allergic to eggs. I may literally die from politeness. Thankfully this time, I really did have faith in Justine. And it was not misplaced.

She created this draped, royal-feeling image with lunar accents, and it was so simple, yet beautiful. I was in love. I told her I didn’t have any changes — and this time, I actually meant it. Now the only thing left was to tattoo it. Deep breath.

One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY

To be honest, I was terrified. I mean, I’ve had my fair share of pain in life. My orthodontia alone — palate expander, braces, head gear, retainer, two surgeries to extract teeth — shows I can stand at least a little pain. But for this I had no frame of reference. Well, I’m here to say, it’s not that bad. I even kind of enjoyed the machine at first, because it felt like part of the process to get to this “new me.” However, I will also say that stick and poke is no picnic. Props to Angelina Jolie, because I stuck it out for my little section, but that bitch is covered in them. I don’t know if I could do it.

The tattooing process took about an hour. Of course, I had no sense of time, because my friends had my phone. I just focused on this vibrant, pink and teal section of a floor to ceiling painting in the room, and thought about my intentions. It was easier than I thought.

One ENTITY writer documents using intuition to choose her first tattoo.

image c/o Erin Harpur // ENTITY

And now, I’m a tattooed woman. I finally did it. My parents peeped it on social media before I could tell them — that’s what you get for having young parents, I guess — but they were both super supportive. So was my little sister, who happens to be pretty tattoo averse. And while I know people will probably think it’s “just a tattoo,” it really feels like more of a new chapter. The more I venture into this world of spirituality, the more I believe in it. I think I was meant to go to that crystal workshop and meet Justine. Earth Altar Studio was what I didn’t know I needed.

Or maybe I’m too impulsive and I just made a pretty permanent life decision on a whim? I’m sure it’ll be open to interpretation. But it’s nice to believe in something, right?

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Choosing the perfect crystal. image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY
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Cleansing the crystal with sage. image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY
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Justine's cards. image c/o Chrissie Cheng // ENTITY
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Checking out the rough sketch. image c/o Amanda Wangersheim // ENTITY
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First look at the new tattoo. image c/o Erin Harpur // ENTITY
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image c/o Erin Harpur // ENTITY
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Writer, Kayla Caldwell (L), artist and owner of Earth Altar Studio, Justine Serebrin (R). image c/o Erin Harpur // ENTITY

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